Dave Cohen

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Thoreau Was Actually Funny as Hell

When I was 14 my mother, exasperated by the onset of my teenage angst, handed me a Penguin paperback of Thoreau’s <i>Walden</i> and said, “Read this. The guy …

Here's Why You Can't See All 12 Black Dots in This Crazy Optical Illusion

Our eyes feel weird.<p>Welcome to the latest optical illusion that has the internet in meltdown right now. Give it a try - look at the image above, and …

The Oldest Libraries Around the World

A selection of beautiful places to start your day.<p>It’s no secret around here that we’re a little bit obsessed with libraries — their collections, …

Science Proved That People Who Love To Write Are Smarter

Everyone should write—not just professional writers.<p>You might say it’s easy for me to say that because I’m a writer. A singer can just as easily say, …

Writing

The 100 best novels written in English: the full list

After two years of careful consideration, Robert McCrum has reached a verdict on his selection of the 100 greatest novels written in English. Take a look at his list<p>A story of a man in search of truth told with the simple clarity and beauty of Bunyan’s prose make this the ultimate English classic.

Literature

Antony Beevor: 'There are things that are too horrific to put in a book’

The historian Antony Beevor tells Keith Lowe why his next book will confront one of the last taboos of the Second World War<p>Antony Beevor has sleepless nights. When I met him recently at his west London home, he confessed this in a matter-of-fact way, and neither of us sees anything unusual in it. …

Can Scientists Turn Birds Back Into Dinosaur Ancestors?

We know they evolved from dinosaurs about 150 million years ago, but it remains to be discovered precisely how the DNA of ground-running dinosaurs changed–a transformation that turned arms into wings, produced aerodynamic feathers, and created a beak. It’s possible that some clues to those genetic …

Einstein on the Common Language of Science in a Rare 1941 Recording

“Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem — in my opinion — to characterize our age.”<p>What makes <b>Albert Einstein</b> endure as “the quintessential modern genius” isn’t merely his monumental contribution to science but also his unflinching faith in the human spirit and in our civilizational …

30 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

The greatest books are defined as classics for a reason. Written by the greatest literary minds of their time, they have universal themes, …

Literature

12 essential places in Britain for book lovers

LONDON — Britain has been home to a formidable number of writers over the centuries, and offers numerous literary spots as a result. Add in a decent …

10 Small, Unexpected Things That Will Make You Happier

Who would have thought that reading your old diary entries and listening to sad songs would make you happier?<p>We never get tired of thinking about happiness, do we? Life is so much nicer when you’re able to couple it with joy and gratitude.<p>We’ve published posts before about simple ways to be happy …

Kafka’s Remarkable Letter to His Abusive and Narcissistic Father

“It is, after all, not necessary to fly right into the middle of the sun, but it is necessary to crawl to a clean little spot on earth where the sun sometimes shines and one can warm oneself a little.”<p><b>Franz Kafka</b> was one of history’s most prolific and expressive practitioners of what Virginia Woolf …